One of our longest standing corporate partners, Phoenix Group has supported us since 2013. During 2016 the Group revised and re-launched their Corporate Responsibility programme to focus specifically on wellbeing and we were delighted that they felt the Heart of England Forest remained a good, if not even better fit to support.
Referred to as ‘Phoenix Group’s Way to Wellbeing’ their corporate responsibility strategy places emphasis on the financial, physical and mental wellbeing of key stakeholders; developing engaging initiatives that benefit staff, policyholders and local community partners.
Head Forester Stephen Coffey, with Phoenix Group’s Corporate Responsibility Manager, Lucy Symonds and staff volunteer, Anne Bussey.
An important element of their programme is employee volunteering. In fact, the Group celebrated recognition in this particular area as a finalist in the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development’s ‘Best Employer Supported Volunteering Programme’ Award in 2016, for its efforts at combining skills and knowledge-sharing with community impact and value. The judging panel commented “the Group’s programme is successful, with strong buy-in and is clearly lead from the top”.
Our partnership has developed since 2013 and is a great example of their commitment to minimising their impact on the environment; raising awareness of and providing opportunities to support physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace; as well as engaging and contributing to their local communities known as their community partners.
Highlights of our partnership include:
- The number of volunteering hours delivered has grown year on year throughout the partnership. In total, the enthusiastic and passionate Phoenix Group staff have dedicated more than 1,200 hours to supporting work at the Forest.
- An impressive 5,000 trees have been donated for the ‘Phoenix Way’ wood, and monthly support to various tree planting and woodland maintenance activities.
- Hosting one of their Senior Leadership Team meetings at our unique meeting facility. This location is easily accessible for those who travel across the country and adaptable for a range of events/ meetings.
- The Group provides opportunities for their community partners to support and help each other where appropriate. For example, we supplied woodland items such as cut logs to their partner school, Ark Kings Academy, to help them build a new outdoor play area. In addition, 15 pupils from the school assisted with planting 150 sweet chestnut trees in Coughton Fields Farm in March of this year.
- Working with the Country Trust, Phoenix Group also supported an educational visit to the Forest for primary school children based near to their Wythall office. The pupils were treated to a falconry display and poems in the Wild Wood.
We are so grateful to Phoenix Group for their continued support. We look forward to welcoming more corporate volunteers over the summer months and planting a further 1,000 trees together during the upcoming planting season.